On the dock, Chechen admitted he went to Syria and stayed there for about three months in 2013 and 2014. But he said he went there to search for his brothers, "not to wage war" . "I did not fight, I defended myself," he had contested.
The "Sniper", however, was accused of having participated in fights and provided training in explosives and sniper fire from other fighters, hence his nickname.
As for his role as "emir" within the jihadist formation, Chechen claims to have occupied the post only a fortnight. "When I was at the front, an emir died during the fight, so he needed a superior. The young people loved me, they asked me to take the succession, "said the accused, during his arrest in 2015 in Moldova.
Son of a minister, the 49-year-old jihadist had arrived in France in 2002 and obtained political asylum. Naturalized in 2008, he had been spotted in 2005 by the French intelligence services because of his religious extremism.